9/11 TSA Agent Advocates for Tough Screenings

When terrorist Mohammad Atta went through airport security in Portland, Maine the morning of Sept. 11, he handed gate agent Mike Touhey his boarding pass.

Touhey is haunted by a gut feeling he had about Atta, reports CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann.

But is haunted by a gut feeling he had about Atta.

Hours later, Atta piloted a hijacked plane into the World Trade Center.

"They only have to succeed one time," Touhey said. "We have to be correct 100 percent of the time."

After stopping the so-called "underwear bomber" last Christmas - the TSA accelerated installing its full-body screeners. The agency is now trying to balance the terror threat against the clamor over security scans, pats downs and the battle cry, "don't touch my junk."

Just last week, a CBS News poll showed 81 percent of Americans favored full body screens. But this week, in another poll, only 64 percent support them. And half oppose pat downs.

"What's more important to you?" Touhey asked. "Your junk? Or your safety?"

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And some airport safety experts believe the scans and pat downs are still not enough.

"You must be proactive and not reactive," said Isaac Ysef, the former security chief of Israel's El Al, the airline with the world's toughest security. Every passenger's interviewed before boarding.

Ysef says the TSA's approach is fundamentally wrong because it is too reliant on technology - and luck.

"Interview people. Check passports. Ask questions," Ysef said. "It's not complicated."

But it is challenging. Just in Atlanta, 1.7 million people will pass through the airport during Thanksgiving break. To succeed, TSA has to do its job with every one of them.
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